ZWRCN 2017 National Budget Discussion 

On the 15th of December 2016 Zimbabwe Women’s Resource Center and Network (ZWRCN) sponsored by OSISA held a discussion on the 2017 annual national budget. A pleasing turnout of 7 men and 33 women from different Gender Sensitive Organization and Government departments engaged in dialogue on mainstreaming gender in their budget oversight mandate and promoting policies and laws that are responsive to gender equality in general. The ZWRCN director Pamela Mhlanga in her opening remarks highlighted the need for civil society to work with parliament and power holders to influence the adoption of gender sensitive budget debates.

This discussion aimed to support the inclusion of women and children in the 2017 budget, to analyze how the actual performance compares with the projected budget and to solicit suggestions for addressing budget oversight and queries on disbursements. Gender budgeting and development was the first topic addressed in order to create an understanding of gender issues and their link with development. Sessions on understanding Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB) and Public Finance provided an overview on the significance of the national budget and its impact on the implementations of gender sensitive policies. An emphasis was made on the responsibility of the government to deliver on Gender equality and rights through their budgets, and how it is civil society’s responsibility to push this message through advocacy. Throughout the entire session several critical remarks were made by the various participants on the 2017 budget. There was a clear call from participants on how they need the government to engage in a deliberate process of responding to the interests of the poor and marginalised, for example by catering for marginalized girls selling sex for survival and women needing to participate meaningfully in economic and business activities across all sectors including agriculture.

This discussion successfully provided Women and Men, Parliamentarians and Government Officials from various departments clarity on how the Government can creatively use their budget oversight mandate to deliver on the rights of citizens through effective and adequate budget allocations. It also encouraged increased citizen engagement in budget issues and opened a platform for questions and answers pertaining to the budget implementation process.

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